Moab Poets and Writers

Daniel McNeil reciting poetry at a previous Moab Poets and Writers event. The next open mic is being held on Wednesday, March 20. [Photo courtesy of Diana Adams]

Deliver a spoken-word poem, and listen to free verse or music at the next Moab Poets and Writers Open Mic on Wednesday, March 20. 

Open mic is happening at 6 p.m. at the Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St. It is free and open to the public. Anyone can show up to perform, whether through poetry, singing or short prose. Signups will be at the beginning of the event, and ahead of time at the library and on the Moab Poets and Writers Facebook page.

Moab Poets and Writers is also hosting a poetry slam. The Moab Poets and Writers Poetry Slam is on April 17 and there will be another open mic on May 15, each on the third Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the library. Additionally, organizers said they are looking for volunteers to teach writing workshops at a later date.

The Moab Poets and Writers Poetry Slam held on April 17 will have prizes for first, second and third place winners. Performers will be limited to three minutes each, with points deducted for going over the time limit.

Diana Adams, current leader of Moab Poets and Writers, said the April poetry slam is a big event for the group.

“April is National Poetry Month,” she said. “That’s why we’re having the poetry slam. You can dress up, you can bring music, you can do whatever you want.”

Adams says that she would be happy to see some fresh faces at the events.

“We love it when new people come, we want people to love writing if that’s their passion,” Adams said. 

Moab Poets and Writers welcomes culturally diverse performances.

“Last open mic, we had a guy who was a rapper. He was amazing,” Adams said. 

Specific literary interests of the group’s current members include murder mystery, science fiction, nature writing, humor writing, and psychology and philosophy.

Adams acknowledges that impromptu performance can be difficult to do, but said it can be rewarding. She encourages people who want to participate in open mic to speak from the soul, no matter their feeling.

“I think it’s really hard to share from the soul, whether it’s silly or serious,” she said. “There’s no judgment, it’s just totally safe. Some people don’t care, but for some people it’s really hard.” 

Moab Poets and Writers member Kathy Grossman said the group and their spoken word performances are part of what inspired her to live in Moab.

“It was funny and honest and real. If such people live here, then I want to live here," Grossman said.

Moab Poets and Writers was begun in 1996 by Julie Fox, owner of Eklecticafe, where the group would meet for poetry over coffee. It incorporated as a nonprofit in 2000 before going on to write a poetry anthology, set up a conference and hold writing workshops. The group now hosts open mics and poetry slams somewhat regularly, and would like to host writing workshops again.

Writers in the Moab Poets and Writers group express high regard for their art form. 

Said longtime member Phil Wagner, “In the process of writing the poem, you find the language to express the inexpressible, and then you have some agency over it, rather than it controlling you from below. Art is more about courage than talent.” 

Writers in the group also had some advice about the creative process. 

“I need a deadline. The adrenaline helps a lot,” Wagner said. 

For fellow writer Victoria Dempster, her advice is to keep trying. 

“It’s the persistence more than the inspiration,” Dempster said.

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